Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad) is typically made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. However, there are many variations. You might want to add chopped fresh garlic, Balsamic vinegar, or other herbs.
- 1½ Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Stalk of celery julienned (sliced thinly)
- 1 bell pepper or 2 baby bell peppers julienned (sliced thinly)
- 1 small zucchini julienned (sliced thinly)
- 2 med-large size ripe tomatoes (sliced1 thinly)
- 9 oz Fresh Mozzarella cheese (sliced thin)
- Leaves of basil, oregano, and thyme (to taste)
- sea salt
- ground pepper
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a medium-large saute pan.
- Gently saute the celery for about 30 seconds
- Add the bell peppers for another 30 seconds
- Lastly, add the zucchini for another 30 seconds.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Salt and pepper the vegetables to taste
- Arrange the tomatoes and cheese slices in a salad plate or a serving dish.
- Top the tomatoes and cheese with the sauteed vegetables.
- Sprinkle the top with the basil, oregano and thyme leaves.
During summer, there’s nothing better than fresh ripe tomatoes picked directly from the vine. If you have room to grow them yourself, that’s all the better. If not, seek out farmer’s markets as they usually have vine picked varieties. Most tomatoes sold at grocery stores are picked before they’re ripe and don’t have the nutrition that homegrown tomatoes do.
In my Caprese salad recipe below, I’ve added sautéed and julienned zucchini, bell peppers, celery, as well as fresh thyme, oregano, and basil.
Herbs not only add a distinct flavor to food, but they also have healing and medicinal benefits. Fresh herbs are always preferable. If you can’t grow or buy them, it’s perfectly fine to use dried. Add dried herbs to the vegetable sauté so they soften and the flavors become infused with the olive oil. Fresh herbs have a stronger taste, so you can sprinkle them lightly on top of your salad after all the other ingredients have been arranged on the plate.
I’ve always grown some type of herbs. They’re easy to grow and don’t need much water. In fact, they grow better if you don’t water them too much. Nurture them in windowsill pots, outdoor containers or in your garden. Snip off only what you need.
Basil, oregano, and thyme – healthy and perfect for Caprese Salad
Basil is anti-bacterial and protects cells and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. It’s anti-inflammatory and contains vitamin A, K, and magnesium.
Oregano is a rich source of vitamin K and has a high concentration of antioxidants. It helps protect your body against cancer and is anti-inflammatory. Oil of oregano contains a compound called carvacrol, which is anti-bacterial and used for healing a variety of ailments. A team of British and Indian researchers found that Himalayan oregano may even kill the superbug MRSA.
Thyme contains thymol, which is antiseptic and antifungal. It also has one of the highest levels of flavonoid antioxidants than any other herb and is a good source of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium.
Do you grow your salad fixings? Please leave a comment below